Chisels and Planes... Norton Oilstones

Hi,
Can anyone reccomend any UK based stockist of Norton brand Oilstones? I'm after a combination fine / medium (or is it coarse?) oilstone. I've found stockists in the states, but postage etc is very pricey. (around 20 - 30 quid inclusive... or is this a good price for such a product?)
A couple of friends have reccomended these oilstones as they are long lasting, and considerably better than others on the market - a stanley one which i bought recently seems to act more like a sponge than an oilstone, and is so soft that within 3 weeks occasional use it's 'dished' beyond belief!
Any alternative reccomendations for decent sharpening stones also would be apprecitated.
Cheers ash
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"Ash" <ashnewstead at yahoo dot co dot uk> wrote in message

Never ever use oil on an 'oilstone'.
Use a strongish solution of liquid washing up detergent and water (say at a strength equivalent to one table spoon of detergent to 1 cup of water) - rinse stone in fresh water after use. (Even spit is better than oil!) This stops the pores of the stone from becoming clogged with a congealed amalgam of crushed stone, metal swarf and dried out oil. It will keep the stone in tip-top condition and will remain 'sharp' for it's entire life!
(If you have a clogged stone, soak it over night in a strong hot solution of CLOTHES BIOLOGICAL washing detergent. You might have to repeat this a couple of times. Then never use oil on it again!) This is a contentious suggestion, especially to craftsmen with years of experience in oiling an oilstone. But please try it. It really does make a vast difference - I have used both methods and will never use oil again!
ALL oils will eventually dry out, dragging in the crushed stone & swarf into the stones pores. Thin oils could be worse in as much as they are more volatile and will dry out quicker. If you use detergent/water solution as a lubricant all you need to do is a quick rinse in water and then put it away. They can dry out completely and no special needs to keep it 'wetted' with oil!
I have several carborundum stones which were my dads and have seen well over 50 years of service. Each one cuts metal as good as the day they were made. (Do you remember the delightful way a new stone 'bites' the metal - my 50 year old stone is like a new one every time!) I use the same solutions on my 'India' stones that I use as a hone for chisels. It even keeps the slip stones 'clean' that I use for polishing small surfaces.
For your information, the 'wet and dry' paper that most DIY/car factors supply can be used as a 'sharpening stone'. (After all, it is carborundum powder of various grit sizes glued to paper with waterproof goo!)
Place about quarter of a sheet of wet and dry on a very flat & clean surface and wet it with soapy water and sharpen the chisel or knife as if it were a proper stone! Use 240 grade to shape a very blunt/worn/damaged edge then sharpen with 400 grade. (scalpels can be honed with 600~800 grade). It is pointless to use finer grade than 800 because it in theory the edge of the blade is more perfectly formed, it will not 'cut' as well as an edge that has very slight imperfections. (The imperfections act like the teeth on a saw)
I always have a sheet of 400 grade in my desk drawer with a small block of Formica covered ply. If I need to sharpen my pen knives, I use them with a goodly dollop of spit - instant sharpener!
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<<snip>>
<<snip>> Just to add to that, I undished (dedished??...whatever;)) an old oilstone by rinsing it with water / detergent, then using some coarse > fine wet/dry paper on a flat surface, eventually got it reasonably flat.
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